Thursday, May 31, 2012

Block Two

Having made such a beautiful block for the quilt, yesterday, I was inspired to try another one today.  The one I made yesterday had the darker colour in the outer ring, which I think of as the flower petals of the block.  Today I wanted to try one where the darker of the two colours was in the central star and the spikes leading out from those points.  I pulled out one of my favourite colour combinations, a nice violet with a lime green, and with a few hours of sewing and ironing, I have a second block.  I'm very pleased with both the colour combination and with the way the design stands out.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Start Swooning

Today I had some time to myself and I decided to pop some episodes of Robin of Sherwood into the DVD player and start assembling the first block of my Swoon quilt.  Three episodes later I am the proud owner of one beautiful finished block.  Those of you following along may notice that I started with the center square of the quilt - it's certainly the most popular move on Hollywood Squares, and there's nothing wrong with it here, either.

Without a frame of reference in the photo, you can't really tell, but these quilt blocks are huuuuuge!  They are 24 inches square, which is why there are only nine of them (with sashing between) to make a full-size quilt.

One down.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Not Enough Hobbies For Ya?

I've been doing a lot of fibery crafting around here, but it's been a while since I showed off my mad quilting skillz.  All winter I spent a lot of time looking at the gorgeous variations quilters were making of the Swoon quilt pattern by Camille Roskelley.  You can see a number of them here on Flickr, or with a quick Google search.  There are so many beautiful ones, but I had something specific in mind for mine.

I spent ages looking for the right fabric - something bright and beautiful, with a lot of colour and not a lot of directionality.  Eventually I found just the fabric that would be perfect for my vision, called Tonga Gumdrop batiks.  Batiks are always stunning, and these ones in particular were really bright rainbow colours.  I ordered the fat quarters, and got myself some nice clean white for the background, and then sat down with a set of markers and some paper to plan out how to put the colours together.  Because there were 20 fat quarters, I ended up with the nine blocks for the quilt and one extra for a matching pillow.

A few days ago I folded up my weaving loom, Miss Bennett, to clear off my work table, and then got out the rotary cutter and mat.  While taking lots of breaks to knit my Cashmere Affection (to rest my poor back and watch various British tv series that I'm obsessed with, lately) I ironed and cut a bajillion pieces of brightly coloured fabric and stacked them up in nice neat little piles, all organized and ready to go.

Then, phase two:  after a couple of days of working at it (with ample knitting and tv breaks, mind you) today I finally finished cutting up the second set of a bajillion pieces:  pretty white squares and rectangles and strips for the quilt background.  Now I just have to get out the sewing machine and put them all together.  I'll keep you updated.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Inkle Bookmark (with afro!)

Before my birthday, I gave my HLM a list of some things that would make good gifts (hint, hint.)  One of those things was an inkle loom, and imagine my delight when I actually got one for my birthday!  Then imagine my dismay when I realized it came in pieces and I had to put it together, myself.

After some gluing and screwing (gutter-mind) and sandpapering and hammering, I finally got to try it out.  A couple of nights ago I used a little pattern that came with the loom to make a warp and tried a little weaving.

I used some leftover Knit Picks Palette, which turned out to be a bit hairy for the project - it's hard to get a good clean shed when using grabby wool, so I just did a short little inkle band, which will make a perfect bookmark.  The fluffy wool makes a little afro hairdo at the end of the bookmark, but I think when I use other types of yarn, that might not happen.  In any case, it was fun, and the tips I'd found helped me to make fairly even selvedges.  I'm pretty excited to try some different sorts of things on my little loom.

p.s. It's an Ashford Inklette loom.  I've named her Pepper, if you were wondering, and I'm sure you were.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

One More Guest to the Party

In case any of you weren't already planning your own Color Affection, here's another beauty shot to inspire you.  I finally (finally?  It's only been a few days) added the third colour - Royal Flush, a bright fuchsia pink.

I wanted it to add some pop to the shawl, and it sure does.  The short rows in garter stitch are fun, easy, and look cool, and the upcoming wide band of Royal Flush at the bottom of the shawl should really anchor it.  Looking forward to further progression!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

And Then There Were Two

When my sisters (bless them) gave me a gift certificate for Tanis Fiber Arts for my birthday, I hemmed and hawed a bit about what to use it for.  I initially planned to put it toward some aran-weight yarn for a Velvet Morning Cardigan, which I've been coveting for a while, but I already have one fair isle cardigan I haven't been working on, so why add another to the pile?  I also thought about getting one of her palettes, to play with some Granny Squares.  Eventually I realized that the best thing to do would be to buy some cashmere for a Color Affection, one of the latest viral knitting patterns (even more so, I'm sure, since the Yarn Harlot threw hers into the ring.)

So I hemmed and hawed a lot more about which three colourways to choose, and eventually just went with the first combo that had appealed to me (which is my usual M.O.)  When I told my sis that I was planning a Color Affection, she asked me if I was doing it for the TFA Colour Knit Along.  I was so absorbed in my planning that I'd completely forgotten that Tanis was doing one!  I checked the dates and decided there was lots of time to join the fun, so when the yarn arrived on Tuesday, I immediately wound up three pretty little yarn cakes and then cast on.

Today I finished the first phase of squishy soft garter stitch (in Lemongrass) and finally added the first pretty little stripe of Lilac.  It's actually taking a lot of self-control to make myself write this post, when I'd rather be working on adding more and more little springtimey stripes to the shawl.  In fact, to heck with this!  (I never had much self-control, anyway.)  I'll show you more when I get that third colour added!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Autumn for Spring

A little while ago, I was placing an order with Sweet Georgia Yarns, for a couple of designs I've been cooking up in my head.  I picked a lovely bright blue sock yarn, first, and then decided to try her BFL sock in solid grey, for another project.  Somehow I managed to screw up the order, and I accidentally ordered the BFL in a variegated colourway called Autumn Flame.  I didn't notice the error in the confirmation of the order, nor in the confirmation of the shipment, but only when I got an email that they'd successfully delivered it.  Sigh.  I found my peace with the colourway, and was actually so excited to try knitting with the sheepy BFL that I decided to make a pair of stockingette socks with it, right away.

It turns out that using 2.25 mm needles for my size of socks (68 stitches around) makes the variegation of the yarn turn into the most perfect little stripes.  Imagine my happiness.  I have seen other projects in this colourway end up with all sorts of pooling or flashing, but I got stripes.  Goes to show that even mistakes can turn into blessings.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Currently on the Loom

I decided which weaving project to start, next.

And it's a real stunner, I think you'll agree.

More details when it's finished.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Burnt Sienna Placemats

Last time I went to visit my folks, I noticed that my Mom is using the same green placemats that she's had forever (despite redecorating a time or two.)  I decided to take it upon myself to weave her some new ones, to refresh her table setting.  After colluding with my sisters a bit about what colour to use, I settled on a lovely Burnt Sienna colour, which is not something I would use in my own house, but I think she'll like them.

I followed a simple huck draft I got from the free Interweave eBook Free Handweaving Projects for Beginners (originally from Handwoven Magazine Nov/Dec 2009.)  Someday I think I'll make myself a similar set (probably in huck lace) in grey, but for right now, I made her two sets in this deep orange.  I ended up with nine in total, which is should be enough for everyone plus extra for a table centerpiece.  Because my beat wasn't always perfect, there is a bit of variation in size, but I guess the largest one can be used for the table center, and hopefully everyone will be too distracted by her delicious food to notice that their placemats aren't entirely identical in length.

The sett for these was 12 epi, which means that they were quick to sley (only 177 ends.)  They were also quick to weave:  although I started the project ages ago, I actually wove the last four placemats in just three days.  The huck draft is one that I've woven before, early on in my weaving life, but I feel like I did a better job of it, this time.  The front of the fabric has floats in a vertical direction, which are spaced out a bit more than the floats on the back, which pull in a bit closer, in a horizontal orientation, and look a bit more like a polka dot.  I'll let my Mom decide which way she prefers to display them.

Now I just have to decide which of my many weaving projects to work on, next!